September 27th

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September 27th, 2020            

Today marked our first trip back to Walt Disney World since the COVID-19 closures earlier this year. It is a little harder to get in to the parks now, as you must make reservations ahead of time, and the Passholder slots tend to fill up pretty fast. Epcot was the only park we were able to get into today.

Tara wasn't able to join us today, as she was in Michigan visiting some of her closest friends. That meant it was me, Drew, and Jayden being joined by Grandpa Gary, Grandma Terry, Uncle Steve, and Aunt Erica.

We didn't make it to the park as close to opening as I would have liked, but that was OK as we were able to pretty much cruise through the security lines. Each of passed out COVID temperature checks, with the exception of Jay. She was pulled aside and taken to a tent (I went with her) to allow her to cool down. After failing a forehead check, and checks behind both ears at the entrance, she passed on her first check in the tent. With that little scare over, we were off to tour the park.

The first thing we did once we made it inside was to get Steve a wheelchair, and then get him registered for the Disability Access Service (DAS), which came in very handy since there are no FastPass+ available at this time. Once that process was complete, we headed over to The Land to get signed up for a ride on Soarin'. The worst part of this was that there was a line just to get inside of The Land building, due to limitations on the amount of people inside due to the social distancing rules in effect. While each of us understand their importance, they would really become a hassle throughout the day, making it difficult to truly enjoy the park.

Once we finally did get inside of The Land and checked in for Soarin', we had some time to pass before we could get on. We opted for a spin on Living with the Land. As always, we enjoyed the peacefulness of this ride. Although the beginning part of the ride could use some updates, we always find something interesting and new in the greenhouse part of the ride. Once we completed our tour, it was off to Soarin' to fly around the world. We love the sights, sounds, and smells of this ride.

We left The Land and headed off to Norway to get a DAS pass for Frozen Ever After. We were starting to get hungry at this point, so while we waited for our time slot on Frozen we decided to eat our lunches. Thankfully the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, which is currently closed for ordering food, was opened as a cooling station. We found a table inside and settled in for lunch. Drew wanted to try a bratwurst from Germany, so the two of us walked over to see what we could find. There wasn't a bratwurst on the menu at the normal German restaurants, but we managed to get one at one of the festival booths. We rejoined the rest of the family to eat. Drew wasn't overly impressed with his brat - I think he'll stick to grilling his own at home! After eating we took our turn on Frozen Ever After. We enjoy this ride, but the wait times are usually too long for us to consider sticking it out for.

We next headed over to Test Track to see if we could get on with Dad's GM retiree ID. We weren't sure that they would still be doing this with all of the other COVID changes in the park, but were pleasantly surprised to see that they still were doing this for GM employees and retirees. They took us in through the ride exit, and we got right on. After speeding around the track we browsed the "showroom" on our way out. Grandpa Gary and Drew was most impressed by the new C8 Corvette that was on display.

At this point the heat was starting to wear us out, so we decided to call it a day. We considered going on Mission: SPACE, but not enough of us really enjoy this ride to make the wait worthwhile, so we opted to skip it. Our final stop before exiting the park was at Mouse Gear to check out some of the merchandise that was for sale.

We headed out after shopping at Mouse Gear to make our way home. We made a stop at a Walmart in Orlando that has a large selection of Disney merchandise as well, and there was some cool shirts here. Unfortunately not many of them were in a size I could wear, so that was a disappointment. We also stopped at the Red Robin in Champions Gate for dinner. After that, it was straight home!



A look at Spaceship Earth as we enter the park.

A closer look at Spaceship Earth.

Gill from the Finding Nemo movie.

Dory, Marlin, and Nemo from the Finding Nemo movie.

A couple palm trees in the sunny sky.

We were greeted by a "Welcome Back" sign on the Living with the Land ride.

A couple of Mickey Mouse shaped plants spotted on the Living with the Land ride...


A Mickey Mouse shaped pumpkin spotted among the other Cinderella Pumpkins... well as one being grown!

A look at the entrance to the...

...Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2020.

Due to social distancing rules, there are no character Meet and Greets...

...instead we get Character Calvacades...

...including this one of the Disney Princesses...

...including Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, and Snow White.

Jayden riding on Test Track.

Drew on the Test Track ride.

Drew and Jay's car hitting 64.9 mph.

A look at the Stingray logo on the C8 Corvette inside of Test Track.

Drew posing with the C8 Corvette inside of Test Track.

Jayden standing in front of Spaceship Earth.

A closer look at Jay in front of Spaceship Earth.


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